Essays in Development and Labor Economics

Author: Niklas Bengtsson; Uppsala Universitet.; [2009]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: This thesis consists of three self-contained essays.Essay I. This essay uses time-series of rainfall to estimate the response of body weight to transitory changes in household income in rural Tanzania. The response is positive on average, but is markedly higher among female children. For female children, a ten-percent increase in household income implies an increase in body weight by about 0.4 kilos. In contrast, the body weight of adolescents and young adults is virtually invariant to transitory income changes.Essay II. In this essay, the impact of a village-level assistance program run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania is estimated. We find that the program increased literacy by 15-20 percentage points and educational attainment by 10-15 percentage points, but only among Protestant children. Catholic children living in the same targeted villages were unaffected. The results support the concern that faith organizations might overstate their ability to aid households of different faith.Essay III. This essay exploits a rapid introduction of an unconditional cash grant (child support) in South Africa in order to estimate the marginal propensity to consume and earn out of a permanent change in unearned income. We find that the marginal propensity to earn is about -0.25 to -0.4. A very small fraction of the grant is saved. All in all, the marginal propensities estimated here are all similar to those reported in comparable papers using US data. However, they stand in contrast to some results on conditional cash transfers in other developing countries.

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